Ghosts, Poltergeists & Apparitions > Ghost hunters

Haunts and history in Barnstable Village


The Boston Globe (Boston, MA)
10 June 2012
Ellen Albanese
Being a US Marine was the scariest part of Derek Bartlett's life - until he started hunting ghosts on Cape Cod. As the founder of the Cape and Islands Paranormal Research Society, Bartlett conducts nightly tours of haunted and historical sites in Barnstable Village, which is, he says, the most haunted place on the Cape per square foot.

The Hyannis resident founded the society in 2001; in 2004 it became incorporated as a nonprofit organization. Ghost hunting doesn't require a formal education, he says, just "an open mind, willingness to learn, and a lot of reading power." Bartlett, 40, claims that in the last eight years he has been "punched, kicked, and forced to the ground by unseen hands."

Bartlett offers two evening programs. Two-hour Haunted History Tours put the emphasis on historic sites in a mile loop along Old King's Highway (Route 6A), referencing the occasional ghosts associated with them. Ghost Hunters Tours, which run three hours, include an hour at a local cemetery, where participants get to use sensory equipment, such as voice recorders, to detect paranormal activity.

On our Haunted History Tour we stopped at the Barnstable County Court House, where we learned that it was James Otis who coined the phrase "No taxation without representation"; Crocker Tavern, still haunted by Aunt Lydia's ghost; Sturgis Library with a 19th-century signature etched into a window pane; and Cobb Hill Cemetery.

Steve Davis of South Yarmouth was taking the tour for the second time with his son, Tucker, 4.

Davis recalled that on the last tour, which he took with his wife just before Tucker was born, they had a strange experience at the cemetery. Standing in front of a gravestone in the dark, he said, "I felt something pulling me toward the stone, and my wife said she felt as though her feet were heavy and sinking into the ground." When Bartlett shined his flashlight on the stone, they saw that it was the resting place of someone named Davis.

Our final stop was the Old Jail. The conditions in which 18th- century prisoners were held, which Bartlett described in complete darkness, were truly frightening.

Bartlett admits there's not a lot of money to be made in ghost hunting or touring. He never charges for services or expenses when called upon to investigate a possible ghost sighting, and he has kept the prices for the tours the same since he started. He finances his avocation with a day job as a vendor for a line of lawn and garden supplies - a job that gives him summers off - and cleans buildings at night. He also speaks about ghost hunting and paranormal activities at colleges across the country.

In 2008 Bartlett persuaded the town of Barnstable to let his organization maintain and operate the Old Jail. In addition to opening it three days a week for tours, he rents it out by the hour on Saturday nights for overnights. He used to charge a flat fee for the night, he said, but so many people fled the premises early after paranormal encounters, he decided it was fairer to charge by the hour.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version